Plans for the Derelict Canal in the 1960s

In the 1960s, British Waterways was interested in trying to find new uses for the vast amounts of land left empty by the death of the canal trade. Warehouses, factories and local power stations which once lined the banks, had gone. Valuable land along its length was lying derelict and unkempt.  Eight places along the canal, from Paddington to Victoria Park, were chosen and a design scheme for each was published. Some areas have been improved. Paddington Basin has tried several times and it was not until  AD 2001, that real progress was being made. The story has been long, complicated and often frustrating.

The Paddington Plan in the Nineteen-sixties envisaged a pedestrian bridge, canal walks, offices and restaurants, an extension to St. Mary's Hospital, and high density housing. The Church Street vegetable market was to be moved to the canal side and Praed Street blocked off, so that it did not connect to the Edgware Road.

The 1960s plans did not come to pass. For twenty years the Basin lay empty apart from a few barges, hidden behind derelict yards, unvisited and unloved. Then, in August 1988, an exciting new plan was in the offing. Trafalgar House Properties and British Waterways Board would invest £350 million in the site.

The Planned redevelopment of Paddington Basin in 1960

Prear Street was to be cut off and a north/south pedestrian way created.

The Elevation of the proposed blocks of Flats along the waterfront in 1960


Paddington Basin looking south east in 1967,
with Siefert’s tower at the end.



The development plan failed but the First Metropole Hotel had been built and Siefert’s Tower looms in the background. For years they were to be surrounded by dereliction.

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Updated August 4, 2011